Essay 3 (Cause and Effect Paper)
Bullying – No More a Kids Play
For centuries bullying has been around and entrenched into the fabric of the society as a harmless rite of passage, a normal and unavoidable part of growing up. Taunts, social isolation, rejection, gossip, pushing, shoving, and tripping were often dismissed as child's play or simply kids being kids (Mellisa Hopkins). Comments like “you have to be strong”, “it’s just one of those things”, you’ll get over it”, was often dished out to kids by parents who feel that their strength of character was actually built through this means.
As far back as the nineteenth century, Charles Dickens in his classic novels ‘Oliver Twist’ and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, attempted to sensitize the public of the pathological tendencies of bullying. As it were, it was only common with the classless members of the society and “yes they deserved it”, no attention was accorded this issue or was it really an issue? However in recent years and as people are becoming more and more aware of its negative short term and long term impact on kids, bullying has begun to receive serious media and research attention even within the scientific community (Carpenter, Deborah with Ferguson Christopher J Ph.D), with the first systematic studies on bullying emerging in the 1970s by Norwegian researcher, Dan Olweus in ‘Aggression in the schools: Bullies and whipping boys’. Today as it cuts across class, bullying is recognized as a worldwide issue for children and youth around the globe ( Pepler, D. & Craig, W. Smith, P.K.; Pepler, D. & Rigby, K.) and research on the topic to cover the causative factors is increasing with increasing rate of occurrence.
With so much awareness and the number of anti-bully programs made available to schools , one would expect this social malady to be on the decline, but research has shown that it has only evolved from the traditional physical bullying that involves punching, kicking, sexual assault, pushing or otherwise physically harming the victim and verbal or psychological bullying that involves teasing, threatening, excluding, insulting or spreading vicious rumors about the victims ( TeensHealth from Nemours) to the now more dangerous form ‘Cyber bullying’. Cyber bullying as posited by Carpenter Deborah involves harassing individuals via text messaging, emails, and posting upsetting pictures and comments on websites like ‘Facebook’, which access is unrestricted to the whole world. Although different types of behaviors are involved, bullying is still treated by most authors as one phenomenon as it is unifying in its causes.
Influence from the home has been unanimously agreed as having the greatest impact on the child-bully’s behavior. Parents are a child’s first and most powerful role models (Kielen, Laurie Pawlik). From early age, children mimic what they their parents do or say. A young girl will want to make up or dress up just like her mom, likewise a young boy who like his dad wants to shave his face, fix the car or mow the lawn. Researchers in the United States are finding connections between violence at home and aggressive bullying behavior in school. In a research conducted by the University of Washington and Indiana University to specifically examine the link between exposure to domestic violence and involvement in bullying, it was concluded that children who were exposed to violence in the home engaged in higher levels of physical bullying than children reared in non-violent homes. “Bullies have often themselves been bullied” says Shelly Hymel and Susan Swearer in the article ‘Bullying: An Age-old Problem That Needs New Solutions’. Another cause still pointing to home influence is revenge and the desire to be in control. When a child witnesses abuse and cruelty or suffers in the hand s of an abusive parent or sibling, he learns that the world is cold and mean, and is unsafe. With this feeling of helplessness,